Applied Arts magazine marks 30 years with Golden AACE lifetime achievement awards

Photo: Diti Katona RGD of Concrete Design Communications accepts her award. Photo Credit: Alice Zilberberg


Applied Arts magazine honoured three creative industry legends with the Golden AACE Awards at its 30th anniversary celebration, a private event held in Toronto.


The Golden AACE Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of Canadian creative leaders whose careers Applied Arts has followed over the last three decades. One Golden AACE Award—a black-and-gold version of the Applied Arts Creative Excellence (AACE) Lucite cubes—was presented in each of the main disciplines covered by Applied Arts: Advertising, Design and Image.


The recipients were:

  • Advertising: Paul Lavoie, chairman and chief creative officer at TAXI
  • Design: Diti Katona, creative director and partner at Concrete
  • Image: Anita Kunz, illustrator


A panel of senior-level industry professionals across all disciplines reviewed a shortlist of 18 creative legends and used the following criteria to determine the Golden AACE recipients: professionally active primarily in Canada for most or all of the last 30 years; award-winning with international accolades; achieved significant business success and is considered a change agent; and has been a mentor or cultivator of talent.


The panel included Applied Arts Editorial Advisory Board members Vanessa Eckstein (Blok Design), Anna Goodson (Anna Goodson Management), Chris Gordaneer (Westside Studio), Mark Jones (Seneca College), Stephen Jurisic (john st.), and creative entrepreneur Clare Meridew. They were joined by Donna Braggins (Sheridan College), Don Dixon (Asylum Artists), John Farquhar (Rain43), Jon Finkelstein (Mirum), Paddy Harrington (Frontier Co.) and Franca Piacente (Leo Burnett).


john st. ECD Stephen Jurisic, who emceed the evening along with Blok Design’s creative director Vanessa Eckstein, noted that the calibre of work in the shortlist made the decision very difficult. “Just remember that as you look at their work tonight,” he said.


The presentation highlighted notable works by each of the recipients, including Lavoie’s “Wheelchair” spot for Molson Canadian and the iconic billboard for McDonald’s Pizza, Katona’s branding work for Keilhauer and MEC, and Kunz’s numerous covers for publications such as Time, Toronto Life and The New Yorker. Each of the recipients also received a full-length feature profile in the new May/June 2016 issue of Applied Arts, available on newsstands in early May.


Also at the event, Applied Arts revealed the 2015 AACE winners, which were the top-scoring winners in last year’s Applied Arts Awards programs.

  • Advertising: JWT Canada, Better Tomorrows Campaign
  • Design: Polyester Studio, Save the Bees Film
  • Illustration: Benoit Tardif, La Licorne Theatre, 2014-2015 Season
  • Interactive: Leo Burnett Toronto, #LikeaGirl
  • Photography: Jeffrey Milstein, Cruise Ships


Finally, the recipients of the inaugural Georges Haroutiun Scholarships were also recognized at the event. Students completed work based on a brief on how climate change could affect their communities. The winners were Mila Mukhortova of University of Fraser Valley (Advertising), Shyronn Smardon of Capilano University (Design) and Natalie Nehwali of Sheridan College (Illustration).

About the AACE Awards:

Throughout the year, Applied Arts ensures the winning pieces in its awards annuals are treated without prejudice—if judges score work at a high-enough level, it's displayed in the book in no particular order. But each year, there is always one entry in every discipline that scores higher than the rest. It's a unanimous, hands-down winner from our judges. In 2012, the Applied Arts Creative Excellence (AACE) Awards launched to recognize that work. All Applied Arts Awards winners qualify for the AACE.


About the Georges Haroutiun Scholarships:

In recognition of Applied Arts founder Georges Haroutiun’s contributions to the design industry, his legacy and his mentorship of students, Applied Arts established a scholarship program in 2016 with an award in the Advertising, Design and Image fields of study. Post-secondary students in their final year of study are eligible to enter. For more information, click here.


About Applied Arts:
Launched by designer Georges Haroutiun in 1986, Toronto-based Applied Arts is an integrated media company targeting Canada's visual communications sector. Reaching more than 46,000 creative professionals, the Applied Arts portfolio includes a magazine, an annual products/services directory, a weekly electronic newsletter, a popular website, annual awards program, and the Winners Exhibit / Creative Futures Expo. Applied Arts magazine is Canada’s leading visual communications magazine, serving creative professionals in graphic design, interactive design and advertising. The overall strategy is to inspire, by showcasing Canada’s creative excellence and by providing essential industry insight.


For more information, please contact:

Kristina Urquhart
Editor, Applied Arts